Foul play suspected after Marikana cop stabbed to death

By Drum Digital
04 April 2015

A number of factors in the killing of Gauteng public order policing head Colonel David Hlanganani Makhubela indicate that there may have been foul play, the SA Policing Union (Sapu) said on Saturday.

Sapu general secretary Oscar Skommere said Makhubela's firearm and his wallet were still on his person when his body was discovered on Friday night in Turffontein. The officer who was in his late 50s had been stabbed to death. His body was discovered by passers-by along a street and alerted police.

"Last night around 19:00 he was coming out of a shopping centre and going towards his car. "He was approached by a group of guys. We don't know what happened, [whether] he talked to those people but he was being stabbed by these unknown people," Skommere said.

He said it appeared the only items which were taken were Makhubela's personal and work cellphones. His car, which was a distance away from where the attack took place, was not taken either.

Makhubela previously provided a statement to the Marikana commission of inquiry, which investigated the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

He was in command of six armoured vehicles which had to spread out barbed wire at the scene.

"We managed only to spread barbed wires from only four vehicles, as by that time, the said employees of Lonmin mine had walked down the small hill and were on the ground and started to attack the police," Makhubela's statement read.

"The police reacted after the said employees charged at them with traditional weapons... and also firing at police. I also state that during the whole incident I never used a firearm."

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on August 16 2012 in Marikana.

Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including policemen and two security guards, were killed.

Makhubela's nephew Lawrence said he was informed of his uncle's death at around 21:00. "My... brother is a former cop, so one of the officers called him last night and he went to the scene. When he told me I couldn't believe it, I was hoping he would call again and tell me he [Makhubela] was in hospital. It shattered us," he said.   "He was married, [and had] two boys and two girls."

The police ministry condemned the killing. "We cannot as a society sit and watch as policemen and women are killed every day. Those who committed these crimes are in our communities and they must be reported," spokesperson Musa Zondi.

He said Minister Nathi Nhleko sent condolences to the officer's family. Nhleko called on the courts to take strong action against the perpetrators, he said. "The minister says stronger action [needs to be taken] by the courts from an investigative side, to find that those responsible stay in prison for a very long time."

An emotional Colonel Noxolo Kweza told News24 on earlier on Saturday that the Colonel was in plain clothes at the time of the attack.

-Source: News24

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